Famous Quotes & Sayings

Gene Wolfe Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Gene Wolfe.

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Gene Wolfe Quotes 1305059

Magic," Martha whispered breathlessly, "is diplomacy. It isn't just saying the words. It's who says them, how he says them, and when he says them. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2249938

Of all the good things in the world, the only ones humanity can claim for itself are stories and music; — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1528992

Whatever we may say, all of us suffer from disturbed sleep at times.
Some in truth hardly sleep, though some who sleep copiously swear that they do not.
Some are disquieted by incessant dreams, and a fortunate few are visited often by dreams of delightful character.
Some will say that they were at one time troubled in sleeping but have 'recovered' from it, as though awareness were a disease, as perhaps it is. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1993222

Time turns our lies into truths. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 646570

The ground recoiled, shocked. The worktable swooped beneath him as though it were a swing whose rope had broken. He turned over, grinding his belly against the table, holding the sides with his outstretched hands to kill the fear. The figure was standing now, and his feet held the ground flatly, directly on the damp, breathing earth. As trees do, he sought strength with grasping, rock-splitting notes. The first step shook the earth almost as the standing had. After — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 121255

There is one final point, the point that separates a true multivolume work from a short story, a novel, or a series. The ending of the final volume should leave the reader with the feeling that he has gone through the defining circumstances of Main Character's life. The leading character in a series can wander off into another book and a new adventure better even than this one. Main Character cannot, at the end of your multivolume work. (Or at least, it should seem so.) His life may continue, and in most cases it will. He may or may not live happily ever after. But the problems he will face in the future will not be as important to him or to us, nor the summers as golden. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 339856

Once I saw torches with dancing flames of scarlet and radiant gold held by solemn apes. A man with the horns and muzzled face of a bull bent over me, a constellation sprung to life. I spoke to him and found myself telling him that I was unsure of the precise date of my birth, that if his benign spirit of meadow and unfeigning force had governed my life I thanked him for it; then remembered that I knew the date, that my father had given a ball for me each year until his death, that it fell under the Swan. He listened intently, turning his head to watch me from one brown eye. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2055880

The castle? The monster? The man of learning? I only just thought of it. Surely you know that just as the momentous events of the past cast their shadows down the ages, so now, when the sun is drawing toward the dark,our own shadows race into the past to trouble mankind's dreams. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2223529

The picture he was cleaning showed an armored figure standing in a desolate landscape. It had no weapon, but held a staff bearing a strange, stiff banner. The visor of this figure's helmet was entirely of gold, without eye slits or ventilation; in its polished surface the deathly desert could be seen in reflection, and nothing more. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1899454

Rain symbolizes mercy and sunlight charity, but rain and sunlight are better than mercy and charity. Otherwise they would degrade the things they symbolize. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1105802

It's a pity you are a torturer," Ultan said. "You might have been a philosopher. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1133712

We are the only government upon whose word every man may rely absolutely, and because of that we command infinite credit, infinite obedience, infinite respect If we say to anyone, "Do this and your reward will be such and such," there is no doubt in his mind that he will be rewarded. If we say villages breaking a certain ordinance will be burned to the ground, there is no doubt. We speak little, but every word drops like a weight of iron - — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 919621

Seawrack is singing in the place that lies beyond this place. Listen there, and you cannot help but hear her." With her I sang a few more words in the language of those whom Mora had once called the People of That Town. "'In our small house with shining windows, I waited till the tide brought your wreck through. Lie here beside me in the darkness. I'll wake to life the corpse I say is — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 148041

Possibly I was mistaken, but it seemed to me that he went pale. At last he muttered, It isn't much of a ghost story, I'm afraid, but then I didn't make it up. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1896896

I had turned my mind from my survival just as a man suffering from a deadly sickness manages by a thousand tricks never to look at death squarely; or rather, as a woman alone in a large house refrains from looking into mirrors, and instead busies herself with trivial errands, so that she may catch no glimpse of the thing whose feet she hears at times on the stairs. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 405505

That's something I didn't understand until recently: you don't get that degree; it gets you. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1588277

A child, not knowing what is extraordinary and what commonplace, usually lights midway between the two, finds interest in incidents adults consider beneath notice, and calmly accepts the most improbable occurrences. My — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 273558

Evolution teaches us the original purpose of language was to ritualize men's threats and curses, his spells to compel the gods; communication came later. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2009224

But I believe there is no difference between those who are called courageous and those who are branded craven than that the second are fearful before the danger and the first after it. The coward is a coward, then, because he has brought his fear with him; persons we think cowardly will sometimes amaze us by their bravery, if they have had no forewarning of their danger. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2013873

I have tried hard to punish myself for that, and certain other things. No more. Let the Outsider punish me; we deceive ourselves when we think that we can measure out justice to ourselves. I wanted to end my guilt. What was just about that? I should feel guilty. I deserve it. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1063582

My rule is never save bits. They get the way, and you don't think of anything new. Put 'em in. Make a big mess. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2068935

Hope is a psychological mechanism unaffected by external realities. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1049278

It is well, I think, for us to learn to tell evil from good; but it has its price, as everything does. We leave our evil friend behind. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1864368

I nodded and grasped the woman by the arm; the cataphracts released her and turned away like silver automata. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1667604

For an instant she hesitated. Baldanders said, 'You may trust him. The doctor has his own way of looking at the world, but he lies less than people believe. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1287885

To be cursed by a god is to be touched by a god. To be touched by any god is to share divinity in some small measure. When the high priest leaves the sanctuary he strips off his clothing and bathes. Did you know that? His clothing is burned. I — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 875309

I was young, so that I desired high things only. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1678828

I get a lot of people complaining about my ambiguity, often in cases which there is nothing ambigous at all. As far as I can see, people read it when they were half stoned and listening to the TV. Then they come back and say gee, it's impossible to figure out what's going on in a story. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 818995

We leave them to others. The day came when they stood at the right hand of the dwarf, with their feet upon sand and millet at their backs, and all three stood much taller than he. And upon that day he called across the desert to their mother. Small though he was, his voice was large, and held the pain of a thousand beatings and the pain of a lover who knows that love is past. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2256701

And when he beheld their dark sails, smutted by the burning tar that had blinded their enemy, he believed them blackened in mourning for the young man, and he threw himself down, and so perished. For no man lives long when his dreams are dead. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 99177

Hyacinth, who wept before sleep, had wept that night; he had wept too - had wept in joy and pain, and in joy at his pain. When tears were done and their heads rested on one pillow, she had said that no man had ever wept with her before. Two floors below them, their reflected images knelt in the fishpond at Thelxiepeia's feet, subsistent but invisible. There she would weep for him longer than they lived. He lowered his naked body into a rising pool, warm and scarcely less romantic. Ermine — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1448926

Year followed struggling year for me, and all that time I read
I suppose few have ever read so. I began, as most young people do, by reading the books I enjoyed. But I found that narrowed my pleasure ... — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2086796

And with them ten thousand men and women; those who, in seeking a private resurrection, had rendered their corpses forever imperishable lay here like drunkards after their debauch, their crystal sarcophagi broken, their limbs relaxed in grotesque disarray, their clothing rotted or rotting, and their eyes blindly fixed upon the sky. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 76803

I said he had called them because it was from his mind that we drew them, seeking those who hated him, or at least had reason to. The giant you saw might have mastered the Commonwealth, had Severian not defeated him. The blond woman could not forgive him for bringing her back from death. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 204977

We talk of strong personalities, and they are strong, until the not-every-day when we see them as we might see one woman alone in a desert, and know that all the strength we thought we knew was only courage, only her lone song echoing among the stones; and then at last when we have understood this and made up our minds to hear the song and admire its courage and its sweetness, we wait for the next note and it does not come. The last word, with its pure tone, echoes and fades and is gone, and we realize - only then - that we do not know what it was, that we have been too intent on the melody to hear even one word. We go then to find the singer, thinking she will be standing where we last saw her. There are only bones and sand and a few faded rags. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 275369

He is the oldest of our sons, and although I loved him, I did not like him. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 285805

Online publication is fine with me, in part because I hope to collect those stories later. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 306506

You never learn how to write a novel. You just learn how to write the novel that you're writing. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 359210

How big is a man's life?" asked Ultan.
"I have no way of knowing, but isn't it larger than that?"
"You see it from the beginning, and anticipate much. I, recollecting it from its termination, know how little there has been. I suppose that is why the depraved creatures who devour the bodies of the dead seek more. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 396061

I could speculate, but it would be just speculation and the kind of thing that you would get in with a science fiction story. And if I was doing a science fiction story then I would come up with what can go wrong with this system. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 426510

What a man knows hardly matters. It is what he does. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 432559

A web of chain mail, linked rings each flattened where the ends met and clinched with a tiny rivet, rattled about his knees. Mark felt the fine powdering of rust that fell from the rings. It was green. The rings had turned to greenness in their decay, as herbs did in health. Where the greenness had fallen away, the knees beating it out slowly like fine green snow, the metal was hot and bright and yellow. It began to chime when the green decay was gone; gongs struck by imperious lords in their tens of thousands, calling their servitors to battle with demanding yellow sound. A — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 447450

Something like that." "You — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 543235

All the history of the stage is a struggle, the gasping of a beautiful child born at the point of death. The moralists, censorship and oppression, technology, and now poverty have all tried to destroy her. Only we, the actors and audiences, have kept her alive. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 611389

He said I had been touched by a god, and that I am a holy man. I said, "If I have been touched by a god, it was only to curse me." He nodded. "All who are touched by gods are holy. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 652810

I love you, but you are another death, a death that has stayed with me and befriended me as the old death in the lake did, but death all the same. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 691927

He saw then that there was a lens at one end, disguised as a dewdrop in the throat of an asphodel. Gently he took the egg in his hands, closed one eye, and looked. The light of the interior was not, as he had half expected, gold tinted, but brilliantly white, deriving from some concealed source. A world surely meant for Earth shone within, as though seen from below the orbit of the moon - indigo sea and emerald land. Rivers brown and clear as tea ran down long plains. His mother said, "Isn't it pretty?" Night hung at the corners in funereal purple, and sent long shadows like cold and lovely arms to caress the day; and while he watched and it fell, long-necked birds of so dark a pink that they were nearly red trailed stilt legs across the sky, their wings making crosses. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 717032

There is no magic. There is only knowledge, more or less hidden. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 752968

I have a bird. Inside." She patted the flat stomach below her small breasts, and for a moment Nicholas thought she had really found food. "She sits in here. She has tangled a nest in my entrails, where she sits and tears at my breath with her beak. I look healthy to you, don't I? But inside I'm hollow and rotten and turning brown, dirt and old feathers, oozing away. Her beak will break through soon. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 761998

A hundred wise men have said in various ways that love transcends the power of death, and millions of fools have supposed that they meant nothing by it. At this late hour in my life I have learned what they meant. They meant that love transcends death. They are correct. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 774044

Reason shows reason can only bring pain - how wise to forget and be happy again! — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 834290

The same authorities who insist upon beginnings, middles, and ends, declare that Great Literature (by which they mean the stories they have been taught to admire) is about love and death, while mere popular fiction like this is about sex and violence. One reader's sex, alas, is another's love; and one's violence, another's death. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 875808

The best offense is a good defense, but a bad defense is offensive. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 894662

My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 895882

You think whatever is wrong with you is contagious, then?'
She laughed again. 'Yes, but you have it already. You caught it from your mother. Death. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 906427

We think that we know a man or a woman, when so much of what we know is actually that man's or that woman's situation, his or her place on the board of life. Move the pawn to the last row and see her rise in armor, sword in hand. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 910580

These chaps everyone's been shouting at to change things, they're the very chaps that do so well as things are. Think they're going to make new rules for a game they always win? Not ruddy likely. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 917778

Imagine a man who stands before a mirror; a stone strikes it, and it falls to ruin all in an instant. And the man learns that he is himself, and not the mirrored man he had believed himself to be. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 928706

Since the time I had ridden Vodalus's charger out of Saltus, I had supposed in my innocence that all mounts might be divided into two sorts: the highbred and swift, and the cold-blooded and slow. The better, I thought, ran with the graceful ease, almost, of a coursing cat; the worse moved so tardily that it hardly mattered how they did it. It used to be a maxim of one of Thecla's tutors that all two-valued systems are false, and I discovered on that ride a new respect for him. My benefactor's mount belonged to that third class (which I have since discovered is fairly extensive) comprising those animals that outrace the birds but seem to run with legs of iron upon a road of stone. Men have numberless advantages over women and for that — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 933556

If you know anything of science, madame, you must know that water is but ice given energy. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1066596

Then I stood alone at the edge of the sea I had longed for so often; but though I was alone, I found it cheering, and breathed the air that is like no other, and smiled to hear the soft song of the little waves. Land - Nessus, the House Absolute, and all the rest - lay to the east; west lay the sea; I walked north because I was reluctant to leave it too soon, and because Triskele had run in that direction, along the margin of the sea. There great Abaia might wallow with his women, yet the sea was older far, and wiser than he; we human beings, like all the life of the land, had come from the sea; and because we could not conquer it, it was ours always. The old, red sun rose on my right and touched the waves with his fading beauty, and I heard the calling of the sea birds, the innumerable birds. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1069730

There is no limit to stupidity. - Space itself is said to be bounded by its own curvature, but stupidity continues beyond infinity. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1093388

Among you Medes, I'm told, there are many men so honorable that everyone trusts them. We're not like that at all - we never trust one another. So what we do instead is make sure that each side's represented, so that every rascal's got two worse looking over his shoulder. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1118842

The chief thing is to begin, after all - after which the chief thing is to finish. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1157217

The progress of science depends much less upon either theoretical considerations or systematic investigation than is commonly believed, but rather on the transmittal of reliable information, gained by chance or insight, from one set of men to their successors. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1173807

The experienced feel love or desire, or both. The inexperienced are sick with a thousand feelings, most of them unformed: fearful that they may be unable to love or to inspire love; fearful of what they may do if once they allow their emotions to carry them away; fearful that they may be unable to cut the cord that binds them still to the superficial affections of childhood; longing for adventure and yet unable to see that their adventure is in the present, that there will soon be nothing left but love and desire. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1179194

Men are said to desire women, Severian. Why do they despise the women they obtain? — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1219439

There is no category of human activity in which the dead do not outnumber the living many times over. Most beautiful children are dead. Most soldiers, most cowards. The fairest women and the most learned men - all are dead. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1226762

Do you not believe that you deserve to die painfully?" "By the revolutionary," I said, hoping that if I asked that death as a favor it would not be granted. "Yes, that would be fitting. But ... " And here he paused. The moment passed, then two. The first brass-backed fly of the new summer buzzed against the port. I wanted to crush it, to catch and release it, to shout at Master Palaemon to speak, to flee from the room; but I could do none of these things. I sat, instead, in the old wooden chair beside his table, feeling that I was already dead but still must die. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1255025

And I went from sleeper to sleeper, examining their faces as I had so many years ago in the tunnel, always looking for His Cognizance and always hoping - although I knew how absurd it was - that I would find Silk, that Silk had left Hyacinth and would be going with us after all, that Silk had rejoined us when I was inattentive, talking to Scleroderma and Shrike, and lagging behind the slowest walkers to talk to His Cognizance, whom I sought without finding on that nightmare night under the cloud-capped trees that outreach all our towers, so that at last I called out softly "Silk? Silk?" as I walked among the sleepers until Oreb grasped my hand with fingers that were in fact feathers, repeating, "Here Silk. Good Silk," and I took my own advice and found the numbing fruit, cut one in two with the gold-chased black blade of the sword that I had imagined for myself and pressed a half against the sting on my arm, weeping. * — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1260150

Before you ask more questions, think about whether you really want to know the answers. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1268054

It has been remarked thousands of times that Christ died under torture. Many of us have read so often that he was a "humble carpenter" that we feel a little surge of nausea on seeing the words yet again. But no one ever seems to notice that the instruments of torture were wood, nails, and a hammer; that the man who built the cross was undoubtedly a carpenter too; that the man who hammered in the nails was as much a carpenter as a soldier, as much a carpenter as a torturer. Very few seem even to have noticed that although Christ was a "humble carpenter," the only object we are specifically told he made was not a table or a chair, but a whip. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1298289

Just as the room of the Inquisitor in Dr. Talos's play, with its high judicial bench, lurked somewhere at the lowest level of the House Absolute, so we have each of us in the dustiest cellars of our minds a counter at which we strive to repay the debts of the past with the debased currency of the present. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1320264

But love is the last need a group has, not the first. If it were the first, there could be no such groups. Justice is the first need, the mortar that binds together a village or a town, or even a city. Or the crew of a boat. No one would take part in any such thing if he did not believe that he would be treated fairly. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1357427

all the things people have said were The Secret after they had talked to mystagogues on far worlds or studied the popul vuh of the magicians, or fasted in the trunks of holy trees. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1373647

Master Palaemon's hand, dry and wrinkled as a mummy's, groped until it found mine. "Among the initiates of religion it is said, 'You are an epopt always.' The reference is not only to knowledge but to their chrism, whose mark, being invisible, is ineradicable. You know our chrism."
I nodded again.
"Less even than theirs can it be washed away. Should you leave now, men will only say, 'He was nurtured by the torturers.' But when you have been anointed they will say, 'He is a torturer.' You may follow the plow or the drum, but still you will hear, 'He is a torturer.' Do you understand that? — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1392509

I was miserable before I knew I was no longer happy — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1509508

Men to whom wine had brought death long before lay by springs of wine and drank still, too stupefied to know their lives were past. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1576097

Knowledge is soon changed, then lost in the mist, an echo half-heard. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1586549

I believe in some sense much akin to the belief of faith, that I noticed, felt, or underwent what I describe - but it may be that the only reason childhood memories act on us so strongly is that, being the most remote we possess, they are the worst remembered and so offer the least resistance to that process by which we mold them nearer and nearer to an ideal which is fundamentally artistic, or at least nonfactual; so it may be that some of these events I describe never occurred at all, but only should have, and that others had not the shades and flavors - for example, of jealousy or antiquity or shame - that I have later unconsciously chosen to give them ... — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1680770

People don't want other people to be people. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1697617

You do not characterize by telling the reader about the character. You do it by showing the character thinking, speaking and acting in a characteristic way. You simply show it and shut up. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1712118

We would be blind, Auk. As blind as I. Because I have never had eyes of my own, I could not look out through yours. But I shall go with you, and guide you, and use your body to heal you, if I can. Look upon me, Auk." "There's nothing to see," Auk protested. But there was: a stammering light so filled with hope and pleasure and wonder that Auk would willingly have seen nothing else, if only he could have watched it forever. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1724754

Women believe - or at least often pretend to believe - that all our tenderness for them springs from desire; that we love them when we have not for a time enjoyed them, and dismiss them when we are sated, or to express it more precisely, exhausted. There is no truth in this idea, though it may be made to appear true. When we are rigid with desire, we are apt to pretend a great tenderness in the hope of satisfying that desire; but at no other time are we in fact so liable to treat women brutally, and so unlikely to feel any deep emotion but one. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1790672

In ancient Greece, skeptics were those who thought, not those who scoffed. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1848240

I began, as most young people do, by reading the books I enjoyed. But I found that narrowed my pleasure, in time, until I spent most of my hours searching for such books. Then I devised a plan of study for myself, tracing obscure sciences, one after another, from the dawn of knowledge to the present. Eventually I exhausted even that, and beginning at the great ebony case that stands in the center of the room we of the library have maintained for three hundred years against the return of the Autarch Sulpicius (and into which, in consequence, no one ever comes) I read outward for a period of fifteen years, often finishing two books in one day. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1865373

We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1903988

Here is light. You will say that it is not a living entity, but you miss the point that it is more, not less. Without occupying space, it fills the universe. It nourishes everything, yet itself feeds upon destruction. We claim to control it, but does it not perhaps cultivate us as a source of food? May it not be that all wood grows so that it can be set ablaze, and that men and women are born to kindle them? — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1919180

We can think only of creatures, of things He's made. Creatures are all we know, and can be all we know until we know Him. When we think of Him like that, we find we can't believe. He can't be like a creature any more than a carpenter is like a table. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1945408

But I was awake, sitting by the window looking down at the trailer and Mr. Zoltan's truck. I could not sleep. That is how it is with folks my age. We take naps during the day, and then we cannot sleep at night. I think that it is because God is getting us ready for the grave. Is that right? Did He ever tell you? ("The Little Stranger") — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 1950698

And then I saw it - not below, where I had looked, but over my head, a vast and noble curve stretching away to either side, with white cloud flying between ourselves and it, a world all speckled over with blue and green like the egg of a wild bird. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2010349

. . .Consciousness came and went.

Consciousness went and came like the errant winds of spring, and I, who so often have had difficulty in falling asleep among the besieging shades of memory, now fought to stay awake as a child struggles to lift a faltering kite by the string. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2072576

And yet I loved her still, or would have loved her if I could. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2105105

It is a part of our office to stand uncloaked, masked, sword bared, upon the scaffold for a long time before the client is brought out. Some say this is to symbolize the unsleeping omnipresence of justice, but I believe the real reason is to give the crowd a focus, and the feeling that something is about to take place. A crowd is not the sum of the individuals who compose it. Rather it is a species of animal, without language or real consciousness, born when they gather, dying when they depart. Before the Hall of Justice, a ring of dimarchi surrounded the scaffold with their lances, and the pistol their officer carried could, I suppose, have killed fifty or sixty before someone could snatch it from him and knock him to the cobblestones to die. Still it is better to have a focus, and some open symbol of power.
Wolfe, Gene (1994-10-15). Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' (p. 184). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition. — Gene Wolfe

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Readers have the power that professors pretend they wield. Millions of words of professorial contempt have failed to kill Kipling. Praising Shaw to the skies has been vain. — Gene Wolfe

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You believe me wise because I taught you once, but I have not been north, as you have. You have seen (what) I have never seen ... You flatter me by asking my opinion. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2173212

Powerful is the charm of words, which for us reduces to manageable entities all the passions that would otherwise madden and destroy us. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2200824

If you have a machine with three or four parts, you can shake them up in a box and it's still pretty clear what's there. If you have a machine with 10,000 parts and you shake them up in a box, what you have is a box of junk. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2221436

I waded out of the sea while loving it still, even as I had earlier dropped from the stars while loving them; and in truth there is no place in Briah that is not lovely when it no longer holds the threat of death, save for the places men have made so. — Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe Quotes 2237737

The pool and the miniature vale that contained it, always dark, grew darker still. Looking up after countless kisses, he saw idling fish of mottled gold and silver, black, white, and red, hanging in air above the goddess's upraised hand, and for the first time noticed light streaming from a lamp of silver filigree in the branches of a stunted tree. "Where did they go?" he asked. — Gene Wolfe